9/1 2002 Carroll Survey #1 by Tom Lounsbury

Thanks go to Bill Howard, Tom Lounsbury, Jeremy King, Ron Lather, Peddgie Heinz, Greg Buckley and Lorely Lather

We came we saw it kicked our ass.
The survey team gathered Friday night at the schoolhouse for some preliminary rest and relaxation. I was running late because of the billions of people all wanting to escape Kansas City at exactly the same time. Stopping by to see Rick didn’t help.
Jeremy and myself arrived to find everyone had just gone to bed minutes before we arrived at 11:00pm. We showered and drank some beer and crawled in bed.

Everyone was up at the crack of dawn and anxious for a warm breakfast and cup of coffee. We arrived at “Eat” the local diner in Montreal around 6:30am. We had made several good local contacts here in the past few months and the word was spreading fast about my curiosity with sinks in the area. Several local men invited me to come and get GPS locations when I was ready. I got their numbers and we were off to the cave.

We were all in cave at 9:25am ready for the first day of baseline traverse through upper thunder river. It soon became clear after 2 shots that it was impossible to draw the detail of a passage 100′ wide and 60′ tall with one survey line running through the passage. We decided it would be necessary to put a crew in the creek to run the meanders. We cannot draw what we cannot see. After 8 stations we found ourselves running down a dry upper passage that was clearly not on the Hoffman map. It would probably connect to the lower meanders again but it appeared to be going almost due west for several thousand feet with no end in sight. Footprints were few. I began to notice as I was plotting many of the compass angles were not working. Upon investigating either our methods or equipment we found that Sokkia had not calibrated the compass with the degree hash marks on the outside of the compass card correctly. This was causing a 2 to 3 degree of error on every shot. I was also very! disappointed in the type of mylar we were using to sketch on. It would not allow me to erase anything. That sucked. We needed to change several things before we were ready to begin an accurate baseline of Carroll Cave. I needed real paper so I could erase and our transit needed some minor adjustments and two of our crew were starting to feel cold. We headed out. Pedgie and Lorely arrived early to start an excellent meal of lasagna. It was reminiscent of the old days of surveying. We made the proper adjustments to the transit and it tested dead on. We were ready to begin again.

9/2 2002 We begin again
I was up almost before daylight to find everyone still sleeping. I was anxious to get back in and redo what we had done the day before. The transit was fixed and tested good. Lorely cooked us a great breakfast and zombie Peddgie contributed some great muffins and rolls. She was drooling on herself and could not pull herself from the comfort of the sleeping bag. It was time to re-enter the cave. We entered the cave at around 9.50am and Ron set the gun up on our previous days stations. Ron was becoming very proficient at the intricacies of transit surveying in big cave. We were moving right along, I however was not moving right along on my sketches. It’s just to damn big. Too much to draw. I needed way to many splay shots to pick up the detail I was hoping to get. It was decided that handwork was needed to follow the meandering stream 40′ below us. It was the only way to get the accuracy and detail we were hoping to get. The dry upper level that we had almost mistakenly follow! ed was about to go 3′ high by 40 feet wide. The transit could fit but our target poles were too tall. We needed some short poles and Ron would need to work on his knees. We ended that traverse at U10. It’s waiting there for the first survey teams to continue. At station U7 we passed some amazing flowstone that was par for Carroll cave. We reversed our course and set up on U4 and shot two stations to the creek below. The creek is 149.6 feet below ground level from 0.0 datum. Our total is 877.4 feet for the weekend of blunder detection and correction. It was very intimidating and I would like everyone to know this is bigger than even I or Ron ever imagined. We will continue the learning process as will everyone on this immense project. The survey is and will be the greatest single effort of modern cavers ever in the Ozarks region. May the gods bless us all.

Thank you Greg Fry and Chris Danuser for allowing us the privilege to survey this fantastic cave.

T. Lounsbury